Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire – Justin McCarthy
The late Ottoman Empire is usually depicted as terminally ill, ‚the sick man of Europe’ according to the great powers in the nineteenth century. But was the patient dying? Did some chronic malady eventually overwhelm the Ottoman Empire? Or was the prognosis constructed and shaped by the aggrandising aims of other countries? Justin McCarthy argues strongly that the Ottoman Empire ultimately collapsed not because of any problems ‚within’ but because of the imperial ambitions of outside powers and the irresistable tide of nationalism. He is not blind to the weaknesses of the empire – particularly its ability to modernise its economy or finances at a sufficient pace – but in light of the baleful developments in the Balkans and Middle East in the twentieth century, it is impossible not to reflect on the opportunities lost as a result of the Ottoman demise. Until the final years of the empire peoples of different religions lived together who have been unable to live together since. Millions have been displaced, millions more killed, and the conflicts engendered by the passing into history of the Ottoman Empire continue to plague the world today.<br/> <br/> This new history of the dismantling of an old empire, by one of the leading scholars in the field, is bold and provocative, and effective antidote to some of the tired stereotypes of western historiography that set little value to Ottoman rule.